View Poll Results: What is your opinion of Battenburg reflective blocking for fire apparatus?

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  • It looks great for vehicle conspicuity - the next apparatus safety trend in the U.S.!

    36 33.03%
  • Definitely effective - it will take some time to grow on me.

    27 24.77%
  • I like chevrons at the rear, but I don't go for this stuff on the sides.

    28 25.69%
  • Keep all this European stuff away from me.

    18 16.51%
  1. #1
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    Default Apparatus Visibility - Battenburg Reflective Blocking

    My department will be taking delivery of a new rescue-engine next month, and we are currently working on our graphics package (complete with Diamond Grade Chevrons on the rear).

    One thing that we have noticed is that chevrons provide excellent visibility when parked parallel to the roadway, but when we (the fire service) park defensively - blocking a lane or an entire road - we park at an angle or almost directly perpendicular to the road. This puts the side of the apparatus as the dominant visible face, making the chevrons much less visible. With this in mind, it seems that we need to develop something more effective on the sides of the apparatus – given the number of firefighters that are injured or killed in roadside accidents every year.

    What are your thoughts on the European Battenburg 'barricade-on-wheels' pattern (pictures linked below)? Several European studies have shown that alternating blocks of color are much more visible than a continuous stripe, and one survey even concludes that it is “acceptable, noticeable, conspicuous, radical, efficient, appropriate, official, authoritative and reassuring”. It is very untraditional - how do you think that the American fire service would receive this? Do you think it would be an idea worth pursuing for our firefighters’ safety?

    On fire apparatus:
    http://www.fire-engine-photos.com/pi...number1023.asp

    Some more fire apparatus:
    http://www.pvluk.com/portfolio/

    On a police vehicle at night:
    http://www.roadtraffic-technology.co...fo/3m/3m3.html
    Last edited by BlitzfireSolo; 03-18-2007 at 11:05 PM. Reason: Links

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    First of all your poll is poorly worded. The only choice that shows displeasure in this set up makes a person sound like an idiot or an isolationist.

    Secondly, I don't like the looks of it and feel it is unnecessary. Our new rescue engine has a 6 inch reflective stripe and Led warning lights on all four sides. It looks like a damn Christmas tree. If you can't see the lights you certainly will not see chevrons or this pattern on the side.

    Thirdly, if a fire department decides, on their own, to set their truck up like this pattern more power to them.

    FyredUp

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    Cool

    if we start seeing this in the usa, it will have one of two effects. it will either be so drastically different it will help, or it won't work at all because it is too loud. must we give up all style in the name of safety?

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    FyredUp,

    1. Take a deep breath - nobody is forcing you to do anything.

    2. Sorry the poll is poorly worded - but there are actually two options that express displeasure with the design. Each option is supposed to be slightly lighthearted - hyperbole, if you will.

    3. If you don't like the looks, just say so - that is what the post was all about.

    4. Unnecessary? We're still getting injured and killed on the side of the road - until that number drops to zero, I'm willing to explore new options.

    5. Six-inch reflective stripe - I think we all have that now - I'm looking for something that exceeds that. As I mentioned in my post, studies have shown that the alternating blocks of color are much more effective than a stripe.

    6. LED warning lights - we all have those as well - probably too many, too bright, and too fast flashing. People get drawn in to all the warning lights, and then get dazed by the seizure-inducing flash patterns. If we had a very visible retro-reflective package - day and night - it might allow is to shed some of those blinding, seizure-inducing, moth-to-flame warning lights. More warning lights aren't always better - passive warning is much more effective.

    7. Obviously any fire department in the world can decide to apply this pattern if they like - I was simply generating some discussion about it (which I guess I have done). I'll say it again - nobody is forcing you to do this - we're simply discussing the concept.

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    Safety stripping is the way to go. We have a Rescue Engine due in September from Rosenbauer that will be very similar to the Kennett Sq rig. Our committee talked about stripping the sides as they did, but unfortunately it was voted down. We did spec additional side stripping in the bottom rub rail and will do a double 6” stripe down the box. The entire rear and front bumper will be done with a chevron pattern. Adding more lights is not the answer. I was down at Saulsbury back in the mid 90s and they were building a rescue for a department on Long Island. I remember it had two rows of red and white strobes spaced about 8’ apart mounted around the entire truck. It looked like a UFO when it was lit up. They even had strobes mounted inside the doors.
    I think the best way to protect ourselves is a safety vest for everyone, place apparatus in blocking mode, and place traffic cones around scene. We have been carrying 6 to 8 cones on every rig for a couple years now. Traffic cones work great.

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    Talking

    I'm with you again Blitz! I was in Scotland and Ireland two years ago and have to say all emergency vehicles "pop right out at you"! Of course my brothers up here were less than enthusiastic about the Battenburg pattern (flat out NO!!) but we did do the rear chevrons. Now we're thinking of switching from red/white to the red/yellow for better daytime visibility. While LEDs and other reflective lines have helped, it still does not seem to have a huge effect. Anyway, the cops are lucky I don't work for them, because I think the PD units are awesome! Love that green/blue battenburg!!

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    Remember that the Battenburg and Chevrons are designed to improve Daytime visibility as much as night time.

    The fact that a truck reflects or lights up like a christmas tree at night does not neccessarily translate to good daytime visibility. We tend to use sliver or gray striping, and aluminum plated trucks, which is close to the colour of the roadway/background during the day. The Battenburg checkerboard is dramatically more visible in daytime and in long distance applications (i.e. highway use).

    I don't know if it is the answer, and I would like to see some more documented studies myself to know if this is legit, or just another version of "Slime-lime". I don't think it can hurt anything but your image.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

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    Having it completely covering the body doesn't look great to me and seems a little overkill, but what if this was just an 8'' stripe about 1' off the bottom of the body. Keep all your zigs and zags and whatever you like, but I think that the way it improves daytime visibility makes it worth putting at least a little on. Some may disagree, but I don' think this is really all or nothing.

    Oh--and chevrons would work well on the sides as well. Interesting topic.

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    skipatrol,

    If you look at the pictures of fire apparatus (or would those be 'appliances'?), they have the full battenburg, and it is only a (wide) stripe going down the side of the vehicle. The only time it really covers the entire side of the vehicle is with police cars and other smaller vehicles. Some of the smaller cars and urban units use a modified "half-battenburg" for exactly the reasons you mention.

    I've seen the (upside-down) side chevrons on Kennett's engines, and I can't say that I'm really a fan: chevrons are supposed to direct or "part" traffic to one side or the other (and presumably, if you're parked on the side of the road, they will figure out which side). When we angle the apparatus across a lane or two, we are "deflecting" the traffic in the direction that we are angled - if a driver is looking at chevrons on the side, it confuses that whole logic - whereas battenburg simply screams "this is a road block", and the driver will logically follow whichever direction the apparatus is angled to.

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    mcaldwell,

    Here is one report on battenburg from 2004. Some interesting reading:

    http://theheap.net/files/14-04-high-...ity-livery.pdf

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    Default oops

    I messed up, I wasn't referring to chevrons, I meant diagonal striping. Sort of like what you find on A frame barrier. I agree that Kennett's trucks have a little much (no offense redbaron). Perhaps this crappy paint drawing will shed some light...If you were to substitute red with white I think it would look good. Credit to RIEMT for the original amazing piece of work.

    Some is better than none--this sketch is more for the "traditionalist" when it comes to apparatus painting.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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    The Fort Worth engines are pretty interesting. A little off topic, but the pics beg for an explanation. Could someone explain why they went with a rear mount pump then left the midship space for crosslays. Seems to defeat on of the main purposes of the rear mount. With an extended bumper in front and a slightly longer body, it seems you could arrange the engine to be a couple of feet shorter and still carry everything from that midship space? Is there something else in that space that precludes them from cutting it down? Maybe this was not the final as built drawing?

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    skipatrol,

    Something along those lines would be better than what we have now, but still not the best we can do for our firefighters. The hash markings are the kind of markings that the UK is moving away from in favor of battenburg livery - based on their studies and reasearch on visibility.

    In my mind, if we are going to go with something that isn't exactly aesthetically pleasing, the only justification is that it is scientifically proven to be the best protection we can offer our firefighters, putting safety before aesthetics. In this case, full battenburg is the proven safety mechanism.

    I can say that, personally, I don't think that it (battenburg) is aesthetically pleasing in itself. But, after spending a great deal of time researching it and looking at many different pictures, it has become one of those things - much like low hosebeds, good scene lighting, and functional equipment layouts - that is pleasing to look at simply due to the functionality and safety aspect.


    ACM - Fort Worth's engines have puzzled me for a while now - not only do they have that huge midship space for crosslay preconnects, they also use a standard midship pump installation at the rear. The net effect is almost a complete loss of any benefits of a rear-pump design. They employ some neat ideas as well, but the pump/preconnect configuration baffles me.
    Last edited by BlitzfireSolo; 03-21-2007 at 01:01 PM.

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    And people will still smash into our trucks. People will still get hit by cars when they are standing in an unprotected area. We can put all the lights and stripes we want on the trucks. You can't fix stupid.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nmfire View Post
    You can't fix stupid.
    Agreed, but we can give ourselves the best chance possible. I think parking a fire engine across the road is about the closest we can come to ensuring people don't hit us, and it doesn't make sense to park a half-million dollar fire engine across the road unless you make it as visible as possible.

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    Default You're certainly right...

    ...more can definetley be done. I just don't see it happening in the immediate future. For many this could take time--though I could be wrong. I did the hash markings on that because I was a little lazy and paint was being difficult.

    As far as the fort worth engines go, I got this info from rosenbauer's website.

    That drawing is not 100% accurate--the transverse compartment behindthe crosslays is gone. It is replaced by a much narrower one right up gainst the cab. IT is smaller, but not that much. The compartment beneath is rated for a heavy load--the pounds escape me (saw it on another site), but it is not transverse. It is odd for sure--It's one of the only engines I have ever seen side or rear, that has 4 midship preconnects. Seems like wasted space...its got a pretty big hosebed, and a longer bumper wouldn't be that much harder (currently it appears to have one preconnect.)

    The pump is a waterous, but I was under the impression that they made pedestal type pumps more suited to rear mounts. It is open too (ie, very small panel.)

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    skipatrol,

    I think that the biggest thing that will affect the time it takes is when the first fire department in the U.S. goes with a full battenburg package. Nobody wants to be the first - sure, everybody will be hesitant to follow, but somebody has to go first. If you look at the chevrons, Plano and Houston went out on a limb, and then, as soon as they had been introduced here in the U.S., the trend grew exponentially.



    On Fort Worth - the open pump enclosure is one of the neat ideas I was referring to (maximum access for maintenance, and maximum compartment space), but I don't know why they wouldn't put the intakes and discharges at the rear instead of the sides. That is one of the biggest advantages of a rear-mount pumper.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlitzfireSolo View Post
    skipatrol,

    I think that the biggest thing that will affect the time it takes is when the first fire department in the U.S. goes with a full battenburg package. Nobody wants to be the first - sure, everybody will be hesitant to follow, but somebody has to go first. If you look at the chevrons, Plano and Houston went out on a limb, and then, as soon as they had been introduced here in the U.S., the trend grew exponentially.
    Yes somebody is going to have to do it eventually--will it be you!?!? The Plano rigs llok really nice...they've got some color on the sides but not what you'd like for sure. This seems a little differnt then chevrons because it show a lot more (a good thing), so maybe some are more apprehensive.


    Quote Originally Posted by BlitzfireSolo View Post
    On Fort Worth - the open pump enclosure is one of the neat ideas I was referring to (maximum access for maintenance, and maximum compartment space), but I don't know why they wouldn't put the intakes and discharges at the rear instead of the sides. That is one of the biggest advantages of a rear-mount pumper.
    Well it would be maximum comparmtent space--if only that was a comparmtent. The intakes and discharge waste a lot of space from the rear wheel back. Seems like you could have a compartment there--it might not be full size but right now there is only a booster line.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skipatrol8 View Post
    Yes somebody is going to have to do it eventually--will it be you!?!?
    TBD.... Might as well finish the project off the right way, huh?




    Well it would be maximum comparmtent space--if only that was a comparmtent. The intakes and discharge waste a lot of space from the rear wheel back. Seems like you could have a compartment there--it might not be full size but right now there is only a booster line.
    Exactly - almost there...but not quite....

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    Quote Originally Posted by skipatrol8 View Post
    This seems a little differnt then chevrons because it show a lot more (a good thing), so maybe some are more apprehensive.
    Yes - I think that is the issue - people are willing to accept the chevrons, because the typical apparatus 3/4 shot shows the front and driver's side (pretty pump panel, decorative striping, chrome, etc). You can't see the chevrons in these pictures - out of sight, out of mind.

    Also, you mention that the battenburg "shows a lot more" - this, in itself, should almost be enough to convince somebody that they are worthwhile: the reason that people don't like it is because it "jumps out at you" or "sticks out like a sore thumb". If it looks like that on a computer screen, you can bet that it will look at least as obvious on the road - and I don't know about you, but I don't necessarily mind "sticking out like a sore thumb" when it comes to roadside visibility.

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    Yet we're willing to spend $500 on a bell just for looks and another $500 on a bald eagle painted on the grill, and another $500 on stylish chrome hub caps.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlitzfireSolo View Post
    FyredUp,

    1. Take a deep breath - nobody is forcing you to do anything.
    My breathing is just fine. I don't believe I said anywhere in my post that anyone was forcing anyone to do anything. Maybe YOU ned to take a deep breath and reread what I posted.
    2. Sorry the poll is poorly worded - but there are actually two options that express displeasure with the design. Each option is supposed to be slightly lighthearted - hyperbole, if you will.
    Sure, one says no to the Battenburg Pattern and yes to chevrons and the other says keep that European stuff away from me. If the poll is about the Battenburg pattern then why only those 2 choices if you don't like it? I guess I took the poll seriously and I wasn't supposed to. Sorry.
    3. If you don't like the looks, just say so - that is what the post was all about.
    Golly, I thought I did. Reread my second point in my original post I said that exact thing.
    4. Unnecessary? We're still getting injured and killed on the side of the road - until that number drops to zero, I'm willing to explore new options.
    But that wasn't what you asked was it? You asked what others thought of it.
    5. Six-inch reflective stripe - I think we all have that now - I'm looking for something that exceeds that. As I mentioned in my post, studies have shown that the alternating blocks of color are much more effective than a stripe.
    Then do go right ahead and put it on your next apparatus. I won't try to stop you. I just think it is hideous and not necessary. With current striping, warning lights, traffic cones and proper apparatus placement we have not even had a close call in years. Even on interstate highways. If it is a problem for you then explore options.
    6. LED warning lights - we all have those as well - probably too many, too bright, and too fast flashing. People get drawn in to all the warning lights, and then get dazed by the seizure-inducing flash patterns. If we had a very visible retro-reflective package - day and night - it might allow is to shed some of those blinding, seizure-inducing, moth-to-flame warning lights. More warning lights aren't always better - passive warning is much more effective.
    Blinding? Seizure inducing? Moth to flame? WOW! Turning this emotional and somewhat sensationalistic aren't you? Documentation on how many seizures have been caused by warning lights...or is that just hype to make a point?
    7. Obviously any fire department in the world can decide to apply this pattern if they like - I was simply generating some discussion about it (which I guess I have done). I'll say it again - nobody is forcing you to do this - we're simply discussing the concept.
    Once again, show me where I said anyone was forcing anyone to do anything. You asked for comments I gave you mine. Unfortunately they didnt coincide with your agenda so you found it necessary to call me out and infer I said things I didn't. Nice try.
    This was really simple. You asked for opinions. I gave you mine. It didn't support your view. Unfortunately that is life. I don't like this pattern. I find it hideous and unnecessary for our needs. I find chevrons on the rear of a rig or on the front bumper can be beneficial for directing traffic away from the incident, kind of like a traffic directional light stick does.

    FyredUp

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    In 1985 we were one of the first in our area to go with a 6" stripe and all reflective lettering, it was fairly radical at that time and by todays standards is pretty tame.

    Chevrons showed up in one South Jersey FD a few years back and many thought they were horrible, now they are popping up everywhere.

    Jury is out on Battenburg, but I bet you see more. This is the first I have seen them used in our area.

    http://www.vciambulances.com/cherryhillfd.htm

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    I find chevrons on the rear of a rig or on the front bumper can be beneficial for directing traffic away from the incident, kind of like a traffic directional light stick does.
    FWIW more than one study has concluded that the use of typical "traffic directional light sticks" isn't ideal. The recommended lights for this purpose are the size and shape of the DOT arrows and blink all at once, not sequentially.
    https://www.commentmgr.com/projects/...der_012002.pdf


    Dal said it best in another thread:
    Quote Originally Posted by Dalmatian190 View Post
    Standard:
    Markings for vertical panels shall be alternating orange and white retroreflective stripes, sloping downward at an angle of 45 degrees in the direction vehicular traffic is to pass.


    Which can't be done unless they're on panels you can flip over.

    I don't terribly mind the Chevrons, but I personally wouldn't city MUTCD as the source of the standard -- because now you've set yourself up to being held to that standard even if you don't follow it. "How did you hit the telephone pole?" "I saw vertical panels that indicated I could go left or right, and I chose right."

    Vertical Panels under MUTCD are meant for places like bridge abutments or the ends of jersey barriers, not as a standard for fire apparatus.

    And I'd much rather, if it ever came down to it, defend the markings on the back of the truck as simply a reflective pattern designed to attract attention then specifically as a traffic control device.

    MUTCD 6I is the standard to be most concerned about for emergency responders, and it's pretty easy going. I suppose if you really wanted to over-regulate yourself, you can argue details like hydrant drills would count as temporary work zones with their more stringent signage requirements.

    http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/pdfs/2003r1/Ch6I.pdf 6I is short and sweet, and not that onerous. Most of it comes down to use what you have on hand for minor / moderate incidents, and call in the highway department for long duration incidents.
    http://forums.firehouse.com/showthread.php?t=86913

    My "chevron" ("vertical panel") opinion: who actually understands that they are designed to guide you one way or another based on the slant of the arrow? I doubt anyone does. Most people just recognize it to mean "avoid this."


    On topic, I say BRING ON THE BATTENBURG LIVERY!
    http://www.ukemergency.co.uk/ambulance/amb12.htm
    Last edited by Resq14; 03-22-2007 at 07:19 AM.
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    "FWIW more than one study has concluded that the use of typical "traffic directional light sticks" isn't ideal. The recommended lights for this purpose are the size and shape of the DOT arrows and blink all at once, not sequentially."

    "https://www.commentmgr.com/projects/... er_012002.pdf"

    FWIW, the report in the above link is written by Stephen S. Solomon, O.D. The very person who brought us S____ Lime, aka Lime Green!

    Stay safe out there, everyone goes home!
    Last edited by chiefengineer11; 03-22-2007 at 08:36 AM.

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